General guidelines for traditional kung fu spear’s length:
To measure for the proper height of the spear, the practitioner stands straight with both feet together. Extend an arm straight over the head. The tip of spear, with shaft resting on the ground should not be shorter the wrist and not longer that finger tips of the extended arm.
For the internal power training big spear, the perfect length should be twice the height of the practitioner. Some martial art styles require the spear to be a specific fixed length to train with and it doesn’t matter about individual’s height.
Flexibility of the spear shaft is another customizable option.
The time honored weaponeer’s method of measuring flexibility is the way Sifu Wing Lam does it. Sifu places the spear tip on the ground while holding the base of the spear in one hand at waist level. Then Sifu presses down on the shaft with his other hand and body weight with enough force to test the flexing of the shaft. In this manner he can rank the flexibility on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 as no flex or stiff and 5 as the being the most flexible or having major flex. There are considerations for flexibility, a rigid staff allows the holder to have more sensitivity and quicker reaction to an opponent’s weapon while a very flexible weapon is usually lighter and will have more speed and whipping action. Generally a Wing Lam Flex Rating of 2 is the best balance between the two extremes and is the safest selection. However, we offer flexible weapons from a rating of 1 to 5 to suit your needs and tastes.
To scientifically quantify and to duplicate Sifu Wing Lam’s flexibility test we have a method that we can describe for you to use that is close to his personal touch. Place the spear shaft so that it is centered between two supports exactly four feet apart. Now hang a 25 pound weight from the shaft at the center of the span. Measure the deflection or bend from the original position (make a reference point from the starting position first.)
|Inches of Deflection||Span 4'||Wing Lam Rating|
|Over 4" Deflection||5|
Note that this only approximates Sifu’s test. Variations can affect the test outcome. For example, when a shaft is tested and then rotated to another angle, it may test slightly stronger or weaker because the wood grains and natural irregularities are in a different position. Sometimes a wax wood pole will bend one way easier than another direction. The percent deflection value is the inch value of deflection over 48” x 100 (percentage).